Tuesday August 09, 2022

Ship-breaking industry workers seek protection, rights

By Our Correspondent
June 28, 2022

A group of labour leaders on Monday demanded that all workers of the Gadani ship-breaking industry be registered with the social security institution and the Employees Old-age Benefits Institution.

They said that health and safety facilities should be provided at every ship-breaking yard, including the provision of related things like overalls, safety shoes, gloves, face masks, goggles, ear plugs and firefighting equipment.

Addressing a news conference at the Karachi Press Club, they also said that workers at every ship-breaking yard should be provided clean drinking water, and a water filtration plant should be installed there.

The leaders said that the workers of the Gadani ship-breaking industry have been facing immense problems for long, and they should be ensured justice and provided with their due rights.

They said that thousands of workers of the Gadani ship-breaking industry since long have been demanding from the federal and provincial governments, the owners of the ship-breaking yards and the related departments to give them their due rights in accordance with the labour laws, but their voice is sadly not being heard.

They also said that Gadani is the third largest ship-breaking centre of the world, but it depicts the picture of a forced labour camp, where ship owners and their supervisors called Jamadars do not recognise any law or constitution.

The main issues of the ship-breaking workers is poor health, and safety arrangements at the workplace, due to which deadly incidents there are common; however, the law enforcement agencies have become a tool in the hands of the ship-breaking mafia, they added.

The pointed out that due to these poor and anti-human work conditions, in November 2016 a fire broke out in a ship, killing 29 workers, but no action was taken against the owners and Jamadars of that ship or the negligent officials of the related departments.

This is why the lives of the workers in the ship-breaking industry continue to be at stake, they lamented. The news conference was addressed by Gadani Ship-Breaking Workers Union leader Bashir Mahmoodani, National Trade Union Federation leader Nasir Mansoor and other leaders.